The Daily Grind: Have you ever paid for MMO-related services like coaching?


A few weeks back, MMO veteran dev John Smedley posted a tweet about paying for, of all things, coaching in a video game, and it got me thinking about that rather untapped corner of our industry.

“Paid for LoL coaching […] and was well worth the money,” he wrote. “I am not ashamed. I mean I used to pay for fitness instruction and this was more fun.”

No reason to be ashamed at all, especially when bettering yourself and having fun. In fact, doesn’t it seem like this should be way more pervasive? Competitive games like League of Legends are easy to join and hard to truly master, and frankly, so are parts of some MMOs. We’ll splash out for sports or music lessons; why not private tutors for challenging games? Or does this just seem like an impossible luxury, being hand-walked through something most people consider merely entertainment?

Have you ever paid for MMO-related services like coaching? Would you if it were available?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Kero Kero

Coaching for competitive PvP stuff? sure, that makes sense for some people.

Paid coaching for PvE MMOs? It seems super odd and unnecessary.


Not yet.

Only game I was thinking about getting coaching for was nethack, because for a while I was able to reach the castle quite consistently but was either too weak when getting there or was close to running out of food.

In general, I like the idea of coaching. Not just because it might help you overcome some invisible wall and improve your skill in a way that is difficult to achieve through a wiki or something, but also because I imagine it must be fun to get to know someone who is really good at and passionate about a game and be able to ask them about their motivation, etc.

Many years ago, I attended a 1 week course in some special style of paragliding and the instructor was a very renowned paragliding pilot, actually a pioneer of the field. It felt like getting a driving lesson from Michael Schumacher. I learned a lot, but more importantly watching this guy with his top athlete mindset and hearing him talk about his love for the sport, how he got into doing that and his thoughts on all kinds of stuff was one of the most inspirational experiences.

Random MMO fan
Random MMO fan

No, I never had the need for that. I do not see much point to do that in MMORPG games – there are plenty of guides which show you pattern which you must follow in boss fights and show the skill rotation which you must follow to maximize DPS for your class, coaching will not help you to improve that. If you have “tunnel vision” where it is hard for you to focus on what is going on – you also do not need a coach but something like a human or software reminder which will tell you to move to specific spot at specific time or use specific ability. You can also just pay some group to carry you through some dungeon if the game has flawed design where you cannot do this solo and you are forced to depend on performance of others in your group.

Even in games like Dota2 or LoL or CS:GO or other competitive PvP games you do not really need to do this because there are many guides which show you how to play your hero well (which skills and items to equip and when to use them and how to use them the best possible way) or where to go on specific maps to achieve specific goal, so unless you are too fucking lazy to use guides – there is no need to hire coach. And if you are too lazy to improve by following guides and watching videos or watching other people play games on Twitch – why even bother trying to improve at all? Just find another game which will fit your lazy gameplay style better ;-)


I wish people would better understand that not everyone learns the same way. Some find it difficult to learn on their own or from forum posts or watching videos. If an experienced coach can help with that then why not?

Also many game communities are not welcoming of players who are still learning. For example in WoW you will certainly hear about it if you don’t know how to handle your role properly.

Personally I enjoy using Google to find things out instead of asking people but that’s just me.


I never paid for it but I did get a replay review done for free back a long while back. Helped me out quite a bit actually and I ended up getting Gold that season and the next. But then Season 7 came with the rune changes and that really turned me off from further playing LoL for some time. Only recently have I kind of started dabbling in it again, but don’t know how long that’ll last.

Either way, the value is definitely there with LoL coaching. Being able to have someone walk you through what you did wrong, where you can improve, etc. really helps.


I only coach myself. And seek advise/help from seasoned others if I get in a pickle over something…

…yeah, bit of a boring answer really.

However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with those seeking more one on one aid from those much more experienced, paid for, volunteered or otherwise, to get leg or pigtail up on a game or it’s aspects. /shrug


Nope, never.

And I will never, ever, pay for anything meant to improve my performance in a specific online game; coaching, microtransactions, official hardware accessories that give exclusive advantages, whatever, I will never pay a single cent for any of that (in the case of official accessories going as far as hacking the game or my PC to get whichever exclusive advantage they were supposed to confer, like with Animal Crossing where I made the game think my regular gray joycons were the exclusive ACNH ones that give an in-game bonus).

Now, I would be open to paying for non-gameplay-related services like, say, ordering custom art of my character. Never did that before, though.


Nope, never paid for coaching

I’ve given a lot of (unpaid) coaching before, kind of comes with the territory of being a former raid- and guild- leader. Never been paid for it though.

In the MMO world, I hope it doesn’t become a thing. Part of what makes a great community is people asking for and receiving help, it creates bonds between players. Putting that help behind a pay-wall is just bad news.

Hikari Kenzaki

I mean… if someone wants to learn how to play a game, my Paypal is open ;)

I can understand it if you’re actually trying to be a professional, but otherwise, no.

hooby _

Most of the fun in games comes from “learning” – as in exploring and understanding the game mechanics, figuring out how things work, developing your own strategies to beat the game, and then executing and adapting those.

Once there’s nothing left to discover about a game, you are done with it, and can move on to the next.

So the question then is: after paying for the game hoping it’s fun, would I then pay even more to skip all the fun it has to offer?

I think not.


The issue is when you look at learning/education you’ll quickly see that there are many different styles of education and not all of them work right for everyone.

For example lets say you play a game and things went okay, but you are wondering how to get better but just have no idea what you could have done better. You can’t learn what you don’t know to learn. So in this process it can be very helpful to have someone else who does know these things point out directly what you are doing and what you could be doing better.

So even if you’re being helped to learn the process itself of learning and becoming better would still be there and enjoyable.

hooby _

Not every game is for everyone. Some people prefer that kind of game, other people prefer another kind. I totally agree!


For the most part, I find that any game that doesn’t at least nudge the player in the correct direction without the need for unofficial knowledge sources — including other players — isn’t worth playing.

But then, I will never, ever, ask for help with a game. It would utterly and completely destroy my enjoyment, current and future, and thus would rob me of the very reason for playing.